Metro backpedals on changes to Route 27

After a lot of resident feedback — including a petition organized by Carla Saulter — Metro’s 27 bus route will continue serving Colman and Leschi Parks under the newest iteration of proposed service changes.

However, service will be decreased to one bus an hour on weekends, which is about half of what it is today. The 27 will also turn on Boren and travel downtown via Spring/Seneca to replace service currently performed by the 2 (which would be routed down Madison instead). The 27 will then be linked downtown to the 33 continuing to Queen Anne and Magnolia. This means there will be a one-seat ride from the CD to Discovery Park (not the reason they made the change, but an interesting side effect).

Changes proposed in November called for the 27 to only serve between downtown and 12th Ave except during peak hours. Analysis by the Seattle Transit Blog showed that ridership is very peak-oriented, and the segments with strong ridership (basically between downtown and 23rd) have parallel service via the 14 on Jackson.

However, opponents to the changes noted that many important neighborhood destinations (like Douglass-Truth Library) would no longer have bus service to downtown, and people who live on steep grades in Leschi would be essentially cut off from bus service.

From King County Metro:

During public outreach in November 2011, Metro heard that loss of transit service during off-peak hours along E Yesler Way and in the Leschi neighborhood would isolate some riders from transit service because steep grades would prevent access to alternative service on nearby arterials. These riders also want to continue to be able to travel north and south on Third Avenue.

A lot of neighborhood attention has since shifted to the 2, where there is much disagreement about shifting the route to Madison. Joanna, who has been working in opposition to the Route 2 changes, has posted more information. See also Seattle Transit Blog’s write-up about the changes.

There will be a series of public meetings in February discussing the changes, including one at Washington Middle School 6 p.m. February 27.

More details on the 27 revisions:

Route 027

31 thoughts on “Metro backpedals on changes to Route 27

  1. Metro is still telling us Route 2 riders that we should be the only area of Central Seattle that should have to direct service to Westlake or to the light rail. Instead, they say we want to force our bus to the Colman Dock! I guarantee you that if I stood up on the Route 2 bus and asked who is going to the ferry that no one would raise their hand. Why do they keep pushing this service design?

    If the Route 27 riders can raise enough stink to keep service, then we should do the same! The message is simple: “Route 2: Don’t go to the ferry! Go to Westlake and light rail!”

  2. Tuesday, Feb 7 at 7:15pm – Madrona Community Council

    Thursday, February 9, 6:00 p.m., Central District Council Meeting
    Central Area Senior Center, 500 – 30th Avenue S.

    Friday, Feb 10 at 11am – Horizon House

  3. Madison is already served by other routes, clogged with traffic, and has no electric trolley wires. How is that supposed to work for the #2? Will they be electrifying Madison or will the CD and Madrona be forced to switch to Diesel buses?

  4. It is true, however, that the neither the #27 nor the #33 is a trolley and are proposed to take over big chunks of routes that do have trolley wire. Where is the reduction in the carbon footprint? Why ruin a whole route with high ridership for a few blocks along Madison? There has to be a better solution to the needs on Madison between 12th and downtown. I am taking a big breathing space before saying more.

  5. Oh dang I didn’t realize that the 27 will be replacing electrified routes… Eek that is not good at all!

    I do think the proposed changes to the 2 will actually improve service for riders in the Central District though.

  6. The 2 will still serve University St station, though. And yeah I’m not sure how useful having the 2 go to the docks is, but nobody would raise their hand because the bus doesn’t go to the ferry docks :)

  7. You ask “why do they keep pushing this service change?”.

    There’s an answer to that question which some who resist any and all changes to route 2 ignore. I’m a route 2 rider and I don’t have major problems with the proposed service change. I think the increased reliability will result in the bus showing up at my bus stop on E. Union when the schedule says it will show up. I think being able to get from downtown to E. Union in the P.M. rush more quickly will be an advantage of the proposed service change. I rarely rider the bus to the ferry dock.

    I will have to transfer downtown to get to points north currently served by the 2. I believe that inconvenience will be outweighed by the advantages. Northbound buses on 3rd Ave. are very frequent.

    And, finally, I believe that we’ve dodged a major bullet. Metro is being forced to seriously increase efficiency in order to try to serve its customers with funding that’s not keeping up with demand. The proposed service changes could be much much worse. (And will be if the funding situation is not solved within the next couple of years when the stopgap expires.)

    If we route 2 riders demand there be no changes to our current service, how do we propose that will be paid for? The choice is not between maintaining all current service and something else.

    There may be ways in which Metro’s proposal for route 2 could be better, but I could listen better to arguments from those who acknowledge that there are reasons for the proposed changes that have nothing to do with serving ferry passengers and acknowledge that there will be improvements to reliability along with the inconvenience of having to transfer to complete more trips.

  8. Oh, I didn’t think about the 27 being diesel. I doubt people living on Seneca are going to like that…

  9. What a lot of people are glossing over here, is that MANY routes are being changed to connector routes; there won’t be one-bus service anymore between LOTS of places. The 2 is no different. Why should we expect no changes similar to other routes will have?

    Regarding service to/from Colman Dock, it’s the same idea. Stop looking at it as direct service between the CD and the Ferry– even the route from the Ferry is meant to connect with other routes, far more efficiently than serves the docks now. If you stood at the dock and asked exiting ferry riders, “how many of you need to connect to a Metro route?”, you’d get a far different answer than asking someone on the direct-routed #2, “how many of you are going to the ferry?”. That’s not the goal of the new route design. It’s NOT just to serve CD riders heading to the ferry.

  10. So how exactly is this going to work at the Colman Dock layover point? The 2 and the 12 get out of sequence yet all of the buses are on a single set of wires. One bus needs to get ahead of another bus that is laying over.

    I believe all of the electric trolleybus routes today have end points unique to their routes.

  11. I’ve seen waiting buses disconnect from the wires so another bus can pass. Not sure how often this happens in the system, but I would guess a lot.

  12. Al S. – The #2 and #12 aren’t going all the way to Colman Dock, just to 1st (which is just as good given the pedestrian bridge there). I’m pretty sure they won’t be laying over anywhere along 1st – they’ll just live loop back up the hill…

  13. I think there’s a bit of a disconnect here; the route originates in Leschi at Colman Park; it does not go to Colman Ferry Terminal on Alaskan Way. Right?

    I would think the primary issue is on Madison St., not the ferry dock…

  14. KrisF – this topic of thread was originally about the #27, which I believe originates in Leschi (not sure of the name of the park). The thread quickly morphed into a discussion of the #2, which originates just north of Madrona Park in Madrona (not Leschi). The proposed changes to the #2 take it down to 1st, where there is convenient pedestrian access to the Seattle Ferry Terminal (Colman Dock).

  15. *Metro said that they wanted to get rid of buses on 3rd Avenue and the turn onto Spring.
    *The new trolleys will have the floor that lowers thus eliminating some of the delays on many of the trolleys (this is good)
    *The new proposal has created an twisted, patched and unproven crosstown diesel route still on 3rd Avenue, still using Spring and Seneca routes (which can be improved) replacing a huge chunk of the what is a trolley and one of the most productive routes in the system. Show me the green (both types)? What is the projected productivity of the new #27 and #33 crosstown diesel (Leschi to QA)?
    *The #2, the 7th most heavily used route in the County, is too valuable a cross-town trolley service to be sacrificed.
    *People want and use the #2.
    *Under this current proposal the #27 loses its connection to the tunnel transit at 3rd and James. Now even fewer CD residents will have access to the tunnel. Oops, I forgot to mention that the #27 will keep their connection to the tunnel at 3rd and Pine.

  16. How do you know this? Do you have proposed cost figures for the redesigned route, and existing costs, so you can compare? Has Metro posted that information?

    The 2 in its re-configured form will no doubt be a money-maker too, since the northern half of it has much, much lighter ridership. If you take the less-efficient part away of a profitable route, what do you have? Perhaps an even more profitable route?

    If an objective is also to improve connectivity to the ferries, a #2 straight down Madison to the 1st Ave ferry walkway is a very efficient way to do it.

    The #2 shouldn’t be looked at by itself– that’s the point of Metro’s entire re-work. All these bus changes are supposed to fit together to increase efficiences downtown. We start pulling parts out of it, the whole re-work falls apart.

  17. It will especially “increase efficiencies downtown” when those of us for whom it works best the way it is now, start driving instead of accepting inferior service.

  18. With all the connecting buses that will run on 3rd ave, transferring to a NB bus will take all of about 60 seconds. That’s maybe 1 traffic light longer– if that. If driving and paying $200-300 per month parking downtown sounds preferable, have at it.

    See, this is what happens when we don’t pass transit levies, but we still want the all the same bus service on decreased revenues. We just don’t get everything we want.

  19. the answer is none. You ask me how I know. First I am not paid to present exact figures, but over the years as this is issue has surfaced I have been informed by Metro that #2 is a money maker. It is Metro’s responsibility and that of those who push for big disruptions to demonstrate the benefits. For instance, after more than a few weeks going on a month I am still waiting for the stats on reliability for all routes in the entire system. I am still waiting. You may peruse this document for some information that might help. Here the 2n and 2s are separated and if combined the entire route would fair even better as there is overlap and some numbers are subtracted from one or the other depending on the point of entering. You can’t just add them up.
    CD news does not seem to allow posting pdf posting in comments. I will send the glossary to Tom.

  20. None of your scenarios apply – you have apparently not been reading the objections to the changes, stated over and over again and spread across all the many threads on this subject. And my added parking charges will be $15 per month max. I know where and when the free parking is.

  21. I find no evidence of profit on any Metro route. That is not to say I expect there to be profit. It is fine that we subsidize transportation in various forms. How ever – the claim that #2 makes money seems absurd. Can anybody provide a detailed analysis of route financial performance – or are we just throwing BS around.

    Financial considerations must drive some of our choices. Metro needs to spend less money and get people close to where the need to go. They cannot provide limo service to every Seattlite. The change to #2 makes perfect sense to all but 7 CD riders who are afraid to walk two blocks.

  22. Posting the same chart over again as if this explains anything. This data shows nothing about finacial performance or relative finacial performance to other routes. It is completely out of the context of the conversation and just dropped as a bold bluff that you know what your talking about. The fact that you have stared at meaningless charts and graphs over and over again does not make one a transportation planner. It makes a zombie.

  23. the information to back up any rationale for restructuring (I am waiting.) In the meantime, I have been consistently informed by all the staff members that I do not need to prove the productivity of the route, that is not an issue. The #2 more than pays for itself is what I have been told and that again productivity (you can ask them for a full definition) of the route is not an issue. I have requested all the metrics and charts regarding their claims and so far they are working on getting back to me. I am waiting and presenting only what I have been given, not all that I have requested.

  24. Yes – they must have some objective criteria for needing a route, changing a route. A financial picture of the route is a simple must. Finance need not be the driving force of routes or route changes if some other objectives are well defined and somewhat measure able. But clearly they would not offer me a ride to the moon even though I have strong metorlogical and anthropological interests in going there.

    They must have some criteria for objective analysis. And they must share it openly. If either of the prior absolutes are not true then the administrative team must be fired immediately. Has anybody ever heard of open government in this city? Oh wait. We are talking about Seattle (King Co, same thing really). Corrupt councils, corrupt admin, corrupt staff.

  25. The 2(S) only pays for 51% of its own operating costs during peak hours, 43% of them off-peak and weekends, and 21% in the evening hours.

    These respective statistics can be found on pages 29, 32, and 34 of this document:

    There is not a single Metro route that generates a profit, not even at the busiest hours. The fractured route system and the inefficiencies inherent in such an arrangement are a big part of why.

    The busy 2S isn’t the best farebox-recovery performer, but its far from the worst. But making it faster and more efficient can only improve that performance!

  26. 2010 report:
    Maybe whey they say it pays its for itself, they mean a route pays its fair share. I suppose that is where the tax revenue is important for this and for roads and autos. Farebox recovery maybe different now with the effort to get everyone on Orca. On the other hand, farebox recovery may be an estimate extrapolated from the other data. That is something not included in the 2010 performance report and may just be a result of extrapolation.

    The lay out of the two reports is different, making a quick comparison of the information difficult. The 2008 data makes easier to see rankings but more difficult to see the entire route for all time periods. The 2010 layout makes it easier to find the route and see the data for all times, but more difficult to see the actual rankings. the green is good. It is too late tonight for me to look at it further. Also the 2009 data here does not seem to be the annual data but only for a certain period of time.

    However, due to the fact that the #2 qualified for an extra bus or two during the past year and appears to have higher performance ratings in 2010 than in the 2009 report, then I will assume that its ratings and rankings are measurably up. As it seemed to have a problem area in the 2009 data, which is not reflected in the the 2010 report. For instance the 48n seems to be performing better now than in the past. In fact, I would guess there are changes for many of the routes as the 2009 data is for a period when Metro ridership decreased. I believe that trend has reversed. It would be interesting to see data for 2011. They must have that now.

    You and I disagree in that…
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    em fracturing the system and making it less efficient for the rider. If you note some of…
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    e fastest traveling routes also don’t rate that high since they are not traveling through densely populated areas. I think that we would both like to see the data

  27. Now that is some great data and well presented. We can see that #2 is an average performer. A tweek or two could put it into a stronger performer. A shorter faster alignment could significantly change the platform miles and platform hours. That leaves the questions how many riders would join or leave the route due to the changes. Probably very few would leave the route. Possibly quciker service would entice some people to take the bus. I currently never ride the busses because my experiences driving all over the place to get somewhere I could have walked in a slightly longer, but, less annoying time. I bet the changes as proposed for #2 – expecially if adopted system wide would increase metro ridership and performance. Apparently Metro thinks so as well. They must change. They must improve. Or we must find somebody who can. I’m still for the mosquito bus fleet. No cost to tax payers, increased small business ownership and tax revenue, better, faster service. Drivers that can be ticketted for poor and aggressive driving, rather than the protected class of drivers we have now.

  28. Nonsense! That is the same meaningless report again. Not at all comparable to the previous post. Why do you post that useless report 20 times? Are you trying too kill us?